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Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2004 - 4:36 p.m.

~ broken necks that smell like Jif ~

We have a B-I-G mouse problem this year.  Previous tenants had had a massive outbreak of mice one year (due to piss-poor storage of dog food) and Mr. Man says that was *really* bad, but I'm completely skeezed out right now. I don't want to hear about how mice scampered in silverware drawers and danced along the kitchen table. Shudder City.  I swear, despite our dearly departed fluffball not being the most active of felines, the plain fact that she existed must have kept the mice at bay.  I think one mouse-sighting ever happened when she lived with us in this apartment.  Without her, we have tiny, furry visitors that gross me out and scare the pants off of me...well, scare the slippers off of me, actually. 

Sunday night, I was washing dishes while Mr. Man was cooking. Burners were flaring full-force on the stove under boiling water and sizzling kielbasa, and suds and sponge were whizzing in the sink. I was droning on about something work-related when a mouse came storming down the pantry hallway. I'm talking at full-speed, a dark brown, twitchy-nosed Lance Armstrong hurtling along the Tour de France of our hardwood floor. Now, I have some lungs. I am an easy-startler and will shriek if anything happens unexpectedly -- someone coming into the bedroom, the phone ringing, a glimpse of myself in a mirror on a Bad Hair Day.

Well, this time I really, really, really SCREAMED and literally leapt out of my slippers and ran for the safety of Anywhere Not Kitchen.  It wasn't good.  Mr. Man thought something very, very, very bad had happened to me and got really scared.  Like, clutching his heart kinda scared.  Which he does not do.  He is fine now, but it scared both of us.  The mouse vanished, Mr. Man wobbily leaned against the kitchen counter ashen-faced, and I clung to the doorjamb tearily watching Mr. Man with an occasional guilty glance toward my poor, vulnerable slippers I had abandoned. A Tableau of Fear.

I hear the mice at night when I'm in bed. They tore open a cloth bag I had filled with fragrant seeds meant to be microwaved and placed on sore necks and shoulders. Despite frequent and ferocious vacuumings (NOT done by ME, heavens noooooo -- Mr. Man is in charge of all Hoovering), I'm convinced seed particles remain under my nightstand, siren-singing to the rodents to come nibble and gnaw at three in the morning while I envision tiny pink scratchy feet clambering up our dust ruffle, gaining purchase on our velvety duvet cover and then gaily traipsing across our sleeping faces. And the mice have now started ambling along under the kitchen cabinets right in front of us.  Ambling. Strolling. PERAMBULATING. Granted, the sightings are sporadic -- maybe three to four a week -- but it is disgusting nonetheless to be delicately sipping at soup while mini-rats cruise on by. 

We set out poison last month and that stopped all activity for a couple of blissful weeks.  Tiny little greenish-blue pellets of happiness; that's what I giddily thought of them as Mr. Man tucked them under bookcases and around the refrigerator. But now it's as if the mice have posted on craigslist.org, gathered forces and built condos.  "SEEKING: RODENT CRUSADERS TO TERRIFY FAT GIRL."

Fine.  CVS has been visited, traps have been bought, peanut butter will be smeared, and necks will be breaking as of tonight.  I am going to lie in bed and grin evilly as I hear the happy snap-snapping of traps.  Oh, yes.  Yes, I will.

Okay, I sound way more cold-blooded than I really feel, but I'm tired of screaming and running in my own kitchen when I'm not even burning anything, of throwing out brand-new food that has been chewed into, of seeing fast and furry shadows everywhere, and of the feeling that everything I touch has mouse-germs on it. Mouse. Germs.

I'm truly sorry, Mickey, Minnie, Anatole, Bianca, Gus, Jaq, Country, City, Danger, Maisy, Fievel, Itchy, Jerry, Pinky, The Brain, Mighty, and Speedy Gonzales. But mice will die tonight.


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